Field and laboratory studies were conducted to determine the effect of transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn, Zea mays L. (YieldGard Rootworm), expressing the Cry3Bb1 protein on aboveground nontarget insect predators (minute pirate bug, ladybird beetles, and carabids). Visual counts of adult and immature Orius insidiosus (Say), Coleomegilla maculata (DeGeer), Hippodamia convergens Gurin-Meneville, and Scymnus spp. occurring in Bt corn and its non-Bt isoline were made at Manhattan, KS, in 2002 and at Manhattan and Scandia, KS, in 2003. No significant differences were found between the Bt corn and non-Bt isoline plots in the abundance (number per plant) of O. insidiosus, C. maculata, H. convergens, and Scymnus spp. Field predation on Ostrinia nubilalis (Hübner) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) egg masses was also observed during the silking stage of corn at Manhattan and Scandia in 2003. No significant differences were observed among treatments in predation rate for predators with chewing versus sucking mouthparts. Two laboratory studies determined the effect of Cry3Bb1 protein expressed in Bt corn pollen on C. maculata and carabids. The larvae of C. maculata were reared on Bt pollen, non-Bt pollen, or greenbugs, Schizaphis graminum (Rondani). The duration of larval and pupal stages, developmental time from egg hatch to adult emergence, percentage of survival, and elytra length were compared among treatments. There were no significant differences in developmental time of larvae fed pollen or greenbugs during their first two instars. However, significantly prolonged development of the third (1 d) and fourth instars (2 d) was observed for larvae fed greenbugs only. Total time for larval development was significantly longer for larvae that fed on greenbugs versus larvae fed on pollen. No significant differences were observed among treatments in the percentage of larvae that pupated or pupal stage duration. Larvae that fed on greenbugs had higher pupal and adult weights compared with pollen-fed larvae. However, pupal and adult weights did not vary between the Bt and non-Bt pollen treatments. No significant differences occurred in longevity and elytra length of beetles among all treatments. Two carabid species, Harpalus caliginosus F. and Harpalus pensylvanicus DeGeer, were reared on moistened dog food sprinkled with Bt or non-Bt corn pollen. No significant differences in mortality of H. caliginosus and H. pensylvanicus were detected among any of the treatments. There was no significant effect of Bt pollen on fecundity and egg viability of H. caliginosus. Our studies showed that YieldGard Rootworm had no effect on the selected coleopteran predators; therefore, this Bt corn hybrid could be used in an integrated pest management system.
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Vol. 99 • No. 4